CapitalPitch Blog

Episode 11 Part 3 - How to pick a Unicorn Startup

[fa icon="calendar"] 24/07/2018 8:00:00 AM / by Lucy Courtenay

Lucy Courtenay

Now, if picking a unicorn startup was easy, then everyone would do it! :-)

But there are certain criteria and characteristics that you can look for within a Startup, which can assist you in picking a good startup, that may (one day?!) turn into the elusive unicorn.

A potential Unicorn from an investors perspective:

The Team

Investors invest mostly in people, not just companies or ideas. Are the team trustworthy, capable of living up their words and commitments. Are the team capable of delivering the goals on time, as a group and can they withstand all of the challenges that come up.

A Big Market

Your target market must be large enough to warrant an investor taking the risk. If the potential payoff is not large enough, you will have trouble.

On Trend

Is your timing right to solve this problem?


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Are you Teachable?

Do you have the ability to listen, acknowledge mistakes and learn? Many investors like to share what they have learnt, with the teams they invest in. Entrepreneurs who treat every question like an attack on either themselves or their business also probably have a teachability issue.


The Business Plan

Without a detailed, written and thorough business plan in place, its very unlikely that an angel investor will consider investing in your company. A business should include the follow:

  • Business concept - the product and market
  • Financials
  • Financial requirements - what capital is needed?
  • Current business position - its legal position / principle owners / key persons
  • Major achievements - milestones, patents, prototypes, critical contracts etc.


A Unicorn Entrepreneur has:


Passion and Motivation

From building an implementing a startup and product, do you have the passion and motivation to make it a reality.


Not afraid to take risks

Entrepreneurs are risk takers, ready to dive deep into the future of uncertainty. Successful entrepreneurs are will to take risks and spend time and money on unknown or uncertainty. But also have reserves in preparation for the unknown and uncertainty.



Self belief, work hard and dedication

Entrepreneurs believe in themselves and are dedicated to the project. There is a faith, that their idea will succeed, when other don’t believe. Successful entrepreneurs welcome all suggestions for optimisation or customisation to enhance, improve and satisfy client and market needs.


Product and Market Knowledge

Entrepreneurs know their product and the market inside out. They are creating a solution to a problem, or significantly improving on an existing product after experiencing frustration with the way it worked. Remaining aware of market needs, competitor moves  and other external factors ensures that the startup remains relevant.


Effective Planning

Entrepreneurs are building a company from scratch wile managing limited resources, which requires planning. Successful entrepreneurs have a business plan in place and are capable of dealing with unforeseen possibilities.


If your startup as all of the criteria investors are looking for and the co-founders have all of the above Entrepreneurial characteristics, then you could be looking at a Startup with unicorn potential!


Lead Investor Podcast


Topics: Startup, Venture Capital, Entrepreneur, Podcast, investing, investors

Lucy Courtenay

Written by Lucy Courtenay